Hand me the sledgehammer

Photo by Littlehampton Bricks: https://www.pexels.com/photo/huge-pile-of-blocks-and-bricks-under-blue-sky-with-white-clouds-4395556/

Hello dear readers, I hope you’re well.

It’s been nearly a week since launching the Publish Everything Challenge, my big self-kick-to-the-backside to reconnect with writing, and I stumbled a bit with the process today, so I thought I would pop on here for a bit of an update.

Aside from the first time (for reasons explained here), I have been honouring the rules and publishing whatever the slip I pull out of the envelope tells me to. It has been a really great way to do things, and I have been looking forward to picking a slip each morning, feeling a mixture of nervousness and excitement about what it might hold.

As the rules are that I must post whatever is on the slip, I haven’t been spending ages agonising over what to write or whether it is suitable for the eyes of others – I have just been getting on with it. But, because the piece is going to be read, I have been forced to look at it through a reader’s eyes and tidy things up. Just a quick tidy up, that is – limited time on most days due to having to get to work means I can’t get bogged down in an editing process for ages either. There is no time for procrastination or perfectionism if we are to hit the goal of publication.

So far so good then… until this morning. I picked out a slip from the envelope and didn’t like what I saw, so I picked another. I didn’t like that either, and so I picked another. And then I stopped and asked myself what was going on. Why all the rule breaking? Why all the resistance? How were those pieces any worse or less publishable than anything else I have posted to the website this week?

I didn’t dwell on that question for long. It wasn’t about those pieces. It was about the process. And it didn’t matter why I was resisting it. It just mattered that I was resistant, full stop. It just mattered that I was hitting a wall and thinking it was okay to break the rules. So, what did I do? Well, I did the only thing there was to do: I smashed the wall to smithereens by publishing all of the pieces from the slips I had rejected. This isn’t called a #challenge for nothing, after all!

So that’s where we’re at – partying hard in the discomfort zone. Long may it continue 🙂

Peace and blessings,


Poem: Blood and Water

You have that look in your eye
The tension, the fear
The readiness for the blow
You’re stressed, on edge
A big burden for a small one to carry
You have the ache in your legs
From all the walking on egg shells
You love and you loathe
Need to run but stay close
You don’t have a choice
Blood being thicker than water
The tie you cannot unbind

Poem: Your Life

How is it
That I have come to be
Your entire existence?

As you go about 
Your daily life
You are aware
I am there

Thoughts of me 
Follow you
Go before you
Surround you
Fill you
Consume you

Your senses
Sense only me
You touch 
Taste smell
See hear me
In everything 

Even in that moment
After you sleep
Before you fully wake
When you are not yet conscious
Of your consciousness 
You are aware
I am there

Poem: War Games

If it was one of your own that was dying
From the depth of your soul you’d be crying

But there ain’t much to say when 
In these war games you play
Countless others 
Get blown away

Where is your shame?
It’s all part of the game
We’re not to blame
It’s just part of the game

Poem: Embrace of The Beloved

Don’t turn away.
Reach out your hand
And He will take it
And guide you to a place
Where your heart can rest, secure. 

Don’t hide away.
He already knows
The darkest secrets of your soul,
Yet He is still there with you,
While others might run. 

Don’t shy away.
Surrender yourself
And enter His forgiving embrace,
Where you will find 
The purest love there is to discover.

Poem: Fragile

This heart I hold in my hands
So young and so afraid
Paying for the mistakes I made

I know with each tear he cries
A part of him slowly dies
All hope is left behind

He has his needs and his dreams
But in his eyes the despair screams
Haunted by nightmares of death and loss

What can I do to help you through?
It may be of no use but I love you
And pray you reach the day you understand

Poem: Hunger

Instead of always feeding your body
You should be feeding the other parts of you
They need nourishing too
You need to feed the

Heart hungry for contentment
Mind hungry for knowledge
Spirit hungry for growth
Soul hungry for elevation

Mouth hungry to pray
Back hungry to bow
Knees hungry to bend
Forehead hungry to touch ground

Fingers hungry to create
Hands hungry to write
Voice hungry to sing
Feet hungry to dance

Belly hungry for laughter
Skin hungry for touch
Lips hungry for kiss
Arms hungry for embrace

Besides, you have not been feeding 
Your body or its real needs at all
You have been feeding your feelings
Your sadness anxiety fears and more
And what you have given to your body 
Cannot be called true nourishment
It is devoid of goodness and care
It is self-neglect-harm-punishment

You have fed the wrong thing
In the wrong way for long enough
It is time now for you to feed
All of your needs with love

Poem: Layers

One day I thought let me see
Just what is hidden inside of me
And I peeled back my skin to reveal
The first layer of fat
And under that

I am thirteen years old
I should be wearing the latest trend
Like the other girls my age
But on my first day back at school
I am in plus-size old-lady clothing
I try to convince myself
I am dressed this way 
Because I choose the look 
Of the more sophisticated woman
Mature beyond my years
But there is no choice in the matter
It is the only thing my mum could find to fit
So I spend my time desperately hoping
No one will say anything
And they don’t
But the snigger shows in their eyes

Though it hurt to revisit that moment
I pulled back another layer
To see what else was there

Sitting on the doorstep reading a book 
Because the street kids don’t want to play with me – aged six
The community uncle thinking himself a first-rate wit  
For nicknaming me after a chubby Bollywood actress - age eight
Friends running away because it is hilarious
Watching me trying catch up with them – aged ten

The boy I like turning red when he learns of my feelings
Because it is embarrassing to be fancied by the fat girl – aged fourteen
The pretty popular pair bursting out laughing when I dare to wear
The lightest touch of makeup to school one day – aged fifteen
The guy I pass in the corridors and his comes-out-of-nowhere
‘Fatty lose some weight’ campaign – aged sixteen

Being left until last when teams
Are being picked in PE – time and time and time again
Being overlooked by the matchmaking aunties
As peers are picked on the marriage market - time and time and time again

My body shook 
From the emotions released with each memory
As powerful as the day they were created
But I kept on going
And it kept on coming
Layer after layer
Memory after memory
Pain after pain
Adulthood experiences no better than those
Of childhood and adolescence

So many years
So much hurt
Hidden in the layers
Hidden from the world
With a wide I’m Okay smile
I just kept on pushing it in
Shoving it down
The pain the food
The pain the medication
The pain the poison
Just kept shoving it in 
And letting it build up
And adding endlessly 
To the number on the scale

And there I was
Still hefting it around
In all of the layers
That made up me
And I asked myself 
A still unanswered question
Would I ever be able to let it go?

Poem: Fun Fact

The truth is
I never loved you
Needed you
Desired you
I desired it
And you
Being you
Were the only one
Stupid enough
To fall 
For the lines
Open up
Give me
What I wanted

Introducing the Publish Everything Challenge

So, as posted yesterday, I am renewing my commitment to writing and posting. And, despite finding the turning of every little thing into a #challenge on social media irksome, I’m calling this the Publish Everything Challenge because I really do need to push myself more on this front. Not just with doing the work itself, but with putting it where it can be read and becoming more comfortable with being seen, read, judged, critiqued, and complimented (the last of these being the most difficult to handle of all…).

To make sure that I really will challenge myself here, I have come up with a system that won’t allow me to shy away from what I post. Asking others to help me decide what to publish is not an option – too many loved ones have already endured enough broken toes from having to repeatedly kick me on the backside (caringly but firmly) in the name of getting me past my confidence barriers to ask them to be my driver for this project. But I am far too much of a ditherer, too, so fate is going to have to decide for me.

How? Well, last night, I sat at my desk, grabbed a load of scrap paper, and cut it into small slips. Then I wrote out the title of every single poem I could find on my laptop and in my notebooks onto the slips and put them into an envelope (well, one of those old CD wallets made of clear plastic), so that I can pull out a slip each day to tell me what to post. That way, I won’t get bogged down with having to make decisions about what is and isn’t good enough, suitable, etc. The slip will decide what goes on the website – however I feel about the piece. Even if it shoves me deep into my discomfort zone, I will have to go along with it. Or, if I don’t, I will need a really good reason for not doing so. And I will have to account for it in some way. (Maybe not by writing about it here every single time, but with a summary piece every so often.)

Naturally, I was put in that very predicament right away today, because the first slip that I pulled out of the envelope happened to be a poem that I wrote for someone. Although I am the author, I see the words as belonging to them now, so it feels like the poem isn’t mine to share. I’m not sure if you would see that as a reasonable justification to discount the slip, but discount it I did.

Then, of course, slip number two took me straight into the discomfort zone. Fun Fact is one of those pieces that makes me worry about how readers might perceive me. The thing is, some of my writing comes from my experiences, some of it comes from my imagination (a poem written from the perspective of a character from one of my stories, for example), and some of it comes from other sources of inspiration. But, whatever the origin of my work, it is often writing in way that appears very personal, which leaves me feeling a little vulnerable.

This has given rise to the temptation to include a disclaimer with the poem, to distance myself from the subject matter or sentiment in some way. But this issue is going to come up a lot, so if I plaster one on this piece, I will have to do that for everything I post (and give away those that are factual through the absence of a disclaimer…), which just feels like the wrong thing to do. So, I am going to post everything as it is – no disclaimers, no distancing. If there is a story behind the piece, I will share it, just as I do with other posts. But other than that, I will let it stand alone, and let readers interpret it however they want. If nothing else, it will be fun to leave everyone guessing!   

Anyway, back to the Envelope of Doom – I mean, Envelope of Direction. I ended up with around 180 slips of paper in that thing. I had no idea that I had accumulated that many pieces over the years as they are written or saved in different places. And those are just the poems! I haven’t gone into the stories, the reflections, and the ideas files. At least I have plenty to keep this going for a while. And, hopefully, growing too, as I intend to add further slips into the mix whenever I write anything new.

Behold the Envelope of Doom Direction

So, without further ago, I suppose it is time to declare the Publish Everything Challenge officially underway. Poem number one will follow soon. Enjoy!

Peace and blessings,